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Saugus softball: Leadoff success

Centurions take season opener at home against Stockdale of Bakersfield

Posted: March 9, 2010 10:21 p.m.
Updated: March 10, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Saugus pitcher Kimmie Lockhart tossed a complete game against Stockdale at Saugus High School on Tuesday afternoon and the Centurions won 6-4.

The Saugus softball team got the start it wanted in a 6-4 win over Stockdale High of Bakersfield at Saugus High on Tuesday.

The Centurions took an early lead, let the Mustangs back in it and then rallied in the fifth to get the separation they needed in their season opener.

“We started off a little bit slow,” said Saugus head coach Julie Watson. “We scored in the first, but then we kind of struggled to get hits and let them back in. We got comfortable, but then the experience kicked in.”

The Centurions (1-0) got on the board first after second baseman Emi Shimamoto, who singled to the center-field gap, was driven home by Jenna Kelly’s RBI single to deep left for a 1-0 lead.

Stockdale answered back in the top of the third.

The Mustangs’ Cassie Hera knocked an RBI double into center field that scored Kelsey Christopherson, who got on with a mishandled grounder down the first-base line.

Stockdale (2-3-1) went up 2-1 on the next batter, when Victoria Valos’ sacrifice fly scored Cynthia Neira from third.

Saugus sophomore pitcher Kimmie Lockhart appeared to be in trouble with runners in scoring position, but she earned a strikeout and pop-up out on the last two batters to end the inning.

“I was just trying to be there for my team and do what they needed me to do,” said Lockhart, of getting out of trouble. “The defense keeps me pumped and keeps me in the game.”

Kelly gave her team a big boost with a solo home run to center field in the fourth inning to even the score at 2, but otherwise, Saugus’ offense struggled.

Fortunately for the Centurions, the Mustangs’ did too.

“It was a little bit of poor pitch selection in our early at-bats and letting (Lockhart) get ahead in the count,” said Stockdale head coach Amanda Hockett, of her team’s offensive woes.

Saugus made a bad situation a whole lot worse for the Mustangs in the bottom of the fifth.

Shimamoto turned a full count into an RBI double that scored catcher Karlee Bickford, and Saugus went up 3-2.

The Centurions never looked back.

Shimamoto and Christopherson were brought in on Jackie Shimamoto’s three-run home run on the next at-bat to put Saugus up 6-2. Jackie finished 1-for-3 with three RBIs and Kelly finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs.

The Mustangs earned a run in the sixth and seventh, but Lockhart recorded strikeouts when needed to finish both frames.

“I think we came out and made a statement,” said Lockhart, who finished with eight strike outs. “And we’ll go uphill from here.”

Watson said it was a great start for the team as it prepares for the Bullhead Tournament, a national competition in Arizona, which begins on Thursday.

The Centurions will play Woodbridge High of Irvine.

“Coming out, there are always a little nerves for the first game,” Watson said. “But we were ready to go. Everybody was willing to do their part and it was a good team win.” 


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